Andrea Leadsom announced as new Defra Secretary
Andrea Leadsom has been appointed as the new Secretary of State for the Department of Environment, Food & Rural Affairs (Defra).
Leadsom, the Tory leadership candidate who earlier this week dramatically pulled out of the race, was handed the position of Environment chief by her rival candidate Theresa May in the Prime Minister's cabinet reshuffle.
The news comes amid speculation over the Department of Energy and Climate Change's (DECC) future, with the department rumoured to be subject to a merger with the Business Innovation and Skills ministry.
Leadsom failed to deny rumours at the DECC oral questions earlier today, informing an audience: “The assumption you have to have a department for something in order to meet your objectives is not one I recognise at all.”
So if lobby rumours are true and Decc is closed, do the climate elements presumably get rolled into bigger Defra? Let's see...— Adam Vaughan (@adamvaughan_uk) July 14, 2016
Meanwhile, former DECC secretary Amber Rudd has been promoted to Theresa May’s former position of Home Secretary in the cabinet reshuffle, while ex-Environmental Secretary Elizabeth Truss has replaced Michael Gove as the new Secretary of State for Justice.
Sad to be leaving Defra after two fantastic years. Great team and loved working with farmers, food producers and environmental groups.— Elizabeth Truss (@trussliz) July 14, 2016
Friends of the Earth (FoE) chief executive Craig Bennett said: "Whatever the outcome of EU negotiations Andrea Leadsom must defend and extend existing nature protections - an early test will be ruling-out the return of bee-harming neonicotinoid pesticides that are currently banned by the EU.
"This week a stark official climate change risk assessment report was published: Leadsom must commit to action to protect the UK from worsening flooding and heatwaves.
"British farming now has to make the case for the public money it receives - we should not be subsidising unsustainable food production or farming practices which fail to protect and preserve Britain's green and pleasant land."
David Nussbaum, Chief Executive of WWF-UK, said: “Now more than ever the Secretary of State for the Environment has a huge and vital role to play in deciding the future of our country. Key to this ambition will be to develop a 25 year plan for the environment which was also a manifesto commitment; a generational commitment by our country that we will safeguard nature and wildlife, both at home or overseas.
"Andrea Leadsom should set out the Government’s ambition for world-leading environmental policy, maintaining but also improving on our existing framework of laws, whether national, European or international.”